Back to Back Issues Page
My Friend John Is Dying
February 28, 2007

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #077, February 28, 2007

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

· The Secret

· My Friend John Is Dying


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2007


If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favour and forward it to him. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting Midlife Wisdom for Men.


Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

I have learned, over the years, that our mental pictures, attitudes and beliefs literally do determine our life experiences. They can help create positive outcomes for everything from golf games to business projects, and when we hit rough seas, which we all face from time to time, our attitudes and beliefs can help us through, or make a tough situation worse.

This newsletter features a short article about a movie that will help you use your mind more effectively, and the story of my friend John, whose attitude is helping make even his dying a fulfilling time!

There are about 1200 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take you about four minutes to read.




The Secret

If you haven't heard of it, you will soon. I have received several emails from friends suggesting I watch it. The Secret is an 85-minute movie about how to use your mind to help create the kind of life you want. It truly is ancient knowledge, and you have no doubt heard of the principles over the years in success-oriented books and audio programs.

Considering the positive changes Elizabeth and I have experienced by applying these principles in recent years, I have no doubt of their effectiveness.

We received a DVD copy of The Secret about a year ago as part of a real estate mentoring program we subscribe to. I recommend it to you, and if you do not want to buy the DVD, here is a site where you can legally watch the movie online (I am not sure whether you can download it): The Secret.


Want to retire early, and have some fun doing it? Click here: What, me retire?


My Friend John Is Dying

A month or so ago, John had a sore stomach. He went to see his doctor, who thought it was irritable bowel syndrome. His wife Judy had suffered with IBS for many years, and John's symptoms sounded familiar. The doctor prescribed a medication.

After a few weeks, the symptoms had not gone away, so John went back. The doctor thought it could be diverticulitis, but wasn't sure so referred him to a specialist, as well as prescribing some medicine for diverticulitis.

The medication didn't help, and a few days later, John came home from work early, with a severe pain in his stomach. Judy took him straight to emergency, and after some x-rays and other exploration, John went to surgery.

His stomach was riddled with cancer, and there was nothing the doctors could do. They said John had literally weeks left to live.

Facing the reality of the situation, John, Judy, and his friend Garrett, whom he had met at "The Ghost Rock Men's Gathering" three years ago, began to talk about a ceremony of some kind for when John was gone. Then they thought, why wait till he is gone?

I had met John at the same four-day Ghost Rock Men's Retreat, which was held on a farm near Edmonton. He and I hit it off, and stayed in touch during the following year, but eventually, with our busy lives, we stopped getting together.

John had met some other men at that same gathering, and as he and Garrett thought about what he would like, he decided he wanted a group of men he liked, respected and trusted to come to his room for some kind of ceremony. He came up with a list of men, many of whom had been at Ghost Rock, including myself. Garrett invited us to come to the hospital on Sunday afternoon.

We all felt honoured to have been invited, and on Sunday, February 18, eleven of us met in the hospital lobby.

We weren't quite sure how to proceed, but most of us had been part of the men's movement for a while, and about half of us were New Warriors in The Mankind Project ( We decided to simply do a "check in" with John, and then any man could say whatever he wanted.

We went up to John's room, and with Garrett 'feathering' us with a large goose feather (we weren't allowed to burn sweet grass or sage in the hospital), we filed into the room to the slow quiet beat of a drum played by Kevin. John's son Michael handed each man a maple sugar candy as a gift from John as we entered. (John had hoped to have a sugar pie, but one couldn't be found in time.)

We gathered in a circle around John's bed, and each man, including John, checked in by saying how he was feeling, and any other brief statement he wanted to make.

It was a sacred time. Although it was serious, it wasn't solemn. It felt to me like a group of souls, here together on an earth adventure, had gathered to see one of our comrades off for the trip back home.

We told a few jokes, sang a couple of songs, and just talked a bit about life. We told John the ways his life had affected and enriched ours. Then we checked out, and left the room. The whole ceremony took about 40 minutes, and was a blessed time.

John is exceptional in that he had the courage to ask for what he wanted from a group of other men. On the way out, my fellow warriors and I talked about how grateful we were for the men's movement, so that men no longer have to die alone, longing for connection with other men, and not knowing how to ask for it. We were also grateful to the movement for having become men who do not fear connection, and who can be in the presence of a dying comrade without being nervous, or being too terrified to even show up.

I went back to see John a few days later, and we had a great visit. I asked him more about how his life was at the moment. He said he was a bit surprised at how he felt, in that, along with the sadness at leaving his family, and some of the other emotions one would expect when faced with a terminal disease, he also felt a lot of joy.

A while back, John went to a workshop at The Haven (, on Gabriola Island off the coast of British Columbia. He recommends The Haven's courses to anyone who wants to improve their relationships, and become more of who they truly are.

The course was tremendously useful to him in many ways, including helping see that although he doesn't always get to choose what happens in his life, he always gets to choose how he responds.

He says he has decided to respond to this situation by living the time he has left with as much connection, joy, and love as he can.

One of the gifts John has received is the deepening of his reconnection with his son Michael, who had come back into John and Judy's life a few months ago, after having been estranged from them for the past five years as he has went through his own struggles.

John told me that when his father died of lung cancer some years ago, his dad was bitter, angry and frustrated right to the end, and John did not want to go like that.

He says he has had amazing, wonderful response from friends, including the gathering on Sunday, and although he wouldn't have chosen to pay this price, the many blessings and gifts he has received almost makes it an even trade!

John is still planning some kind of ceremony for when he is gone. So far he says it will be something like a 'non-alcoholic wake'. Works for me. I think I will bring my guitar and play him a few songs.

And John, assuming you're reading this, thanks for being part of my journey, and happy trails.


"Don't worry about middle age: you'll outgrow it." Laurence Peter


I do this newsletter and host the website as a service to other men, and am happy to do so. Just the same, it costs some money, and if you would like to make a small contribution to help with those costs, I would really appreciate it. If you would like, you can make a donation at:


Wouldn't it be great to work less and play more golf? I do not of a better way to earn a part-time income, than a simple information Web site. I encourage you to check out You'll be amazed at how you can turn YOUR hobby into online income.


The Mankind Project

The ManKind Project® offers trainings which support men in developing lives of integrity, accountability, and connection to feeling. Our trainings challenge men to develop their abilities as leaders, fathers, and elders as ways of offering their deepest gifts in service to the world.

The ManKind Project's New Warrior Training Adventure® is an intense, transformative men's initiation which invites men to forge a deep conscious connection between head and heart. The NWTA offers men a powerful, challenging opportunity to look at all aspects of their lives in a richly supportive environment.


Got your copy of Picking Up The Burning Feather yet? It will help you on your spiritual journey.

Just go to Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men.


Just For You: A Free Do-It-Yourself Retirement Planning Report

If you are a new subscriber to this newsletter, you will recall I promised you a link to a secret page on the Midlife Men's site where you can download a free 27-page report on 'DIY Retirement planning' by George Slater.

Welcome to the newsletter, and for your free report, go to: DIY Retirement E-Report , and follow the instructions.



I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.


Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel

Back to Back Issues Page